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Julie & Julia

Really didn’t expect to see “Julie & Julia” on opening day (Friday), but the stars aligned and I went with my husband, his sister and her husband. Our plan was nearly blocked by some insane traffic, but we made it in time for a couple of ridiculous trailers. Even the brother-in-law, who kindly dropped us off while he parked, made it just before the move started (I wished I’d walked with him and avoided the “2012” trailer).

I’ve been looking forward to “J&J” for months, which is always a problem. High expectations means high likelihood of disappointment. I am happy to say the movie lived up to my expectations and a bit more. I had hoped it would be fun and humorous. It was. I didn’t expect poignancy, so that was a bonus.

And I should have realized, but didn’t, just how much this movie was about getting a book published. Or in this case, getting two books published–Julia Child’s classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Julie and and Julia by Julie Powell.

Guess what? Julia Child’s book was actually rejected before it was ever published. Sound familiar? This classic book was not initially recognized for its tremendous potential. Instead, the publisher felt American audiences weren’t ready for it. Many an author has followed this same path to publication. Few have had the tremendous success of Julia Child–but it does happen. All of which reminds us that the book business is subjective. One editor’s opinion is just that. Don’t let a rejection stop you! (Note my clever tie back to writing, which is supposed to be the topic of this blog).

OTOH, we have Julie Powell. She followed a very different path to her first book. The blog path. This is rather a new phenomenon. It takes having the right subject, the right voice and great timing. When all of these things come together and some other mysterious magic occurs, the blog becomes a platform that attracts attention and leads to a publishing contract. This path is not without bumps either. Still, I had a hard time relating to the–I’ve made it–moment in the movie when agents and editors were calling Julie directly without so much as a query letter sent out.

Bottom line–the movie is a lot of fun and also has emotional depth. The lead actresses–Meryl Streep and Amy Adams–are terrific and accompanied by many great performance–especially Stanley Tucci as Julia’s husband, Paul Child.)

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